Fall protection covers, but is not restricted to, wire rope rails, solid rails and even travel restraints (harnesses with lanyards that stop you from reaching the edge from where you might fall). Fall arrest is what they generally mean mean by being “tied-off” – a harness and a lanyard, plus an anchor point.
Correct Harness Usage
The first thing that should be done when putting on a harness is to examine it. Scan each strap, buckle, plastic fitting and grommet for signs of wear and tear. Also find out when the harness was last inspected professionally (the tag should have this piece of information). If you feel completely sure that the harness is in safe form, wear it and adjust accordingly (not too loose or too tight). Be sure to tuck the ends of your straps safely into the provided fasteners (anything that hangs around could get caught in something or loosened all the way).
Correct Lanyard Usage
When picking your lanyard, you should ask one easy but crucial question: how high is my anchor point from the lower level? Now check whether it has been attached properly. If you have a deceleration device on your lanyard, it should be securely attached to your D-ring to ensure correct deployment. If you’re using a retractable, the casing has to be attached to the anchor point. Lanyards that resemble bungee cords may be used either way.
Proper Anchor Point
According to the OSHA, anchorages used in personal fall arrest equipment should be able to support at least 5,000 pounds per attached person. Except in cases where you have structural steel or an engineered anchor point (as an aerial lift, for example), you must be aware that the anchor point will hold. Of course, this should be done by no less than a registered professional engineer. Besides, safety is an all-or-nothing proposition. And if you want to be safe all the way, you should only trust certified experts.
Proper Fall Clearance
On top of that, your anchor point has to restrict your free-fall distance to a mere 6 feet or less. Scenario: you’re tied up at the feet with a 6-foot lanyard that comes with a deceleration device. You need to freefall past 10 feet for that deceleration device to engage (6 feet for the length of the lanyard and 4 feet for the distance between your feet and the D-ring). Such forces can be extremely dangerous for your body’s internal organs. That’s why the anchor point must always at least with the D-ring. If this isn’t possible, other alternatives have to be considered, such as retractable lanyards, railings, and more.